It gave me a chock when, a couple of years ago, I started calculating how much it cost me to be working full time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not greedy. As far as I can remember, I’ve never dreamed of making a lot of money. I have dreamed, however, of doing a job that made me happy. Around the time my academic-physicist happiness started fading away at the speed of light, I found myself doing this kind of petty cost calculation:
Take beans. Perhaps I should mention here that I eat very little meat. Being, as you may know, a vegetable freak, I’m happy with eating only organic meat from time to time. I also eat moose whenever one of my neighbors kills one, but most of the time I eat cereal and beans for protein, feeling very self-satisfied about my reduced grocery budget and my efforts to save the environment.
So, beans. It obviously takes ages to cook them. I’m not even speaking about those times when you forget to put them to soak overnight. Luckily for people who work full time, you can buy them cooked and canned. If you’re happy with your job, then, everything is fine. As for me, I kept repeating that I would quit if I could, so I calculated on.
A kilogram of lead and a kilogram of feathers certainly weight the same, but they don’t cost the same. I’ll spare you the math, but dried beans, including the water and energy to cook them, are still much, much cheaper than canned ones. They also come with less packaging, and you can even control how much salt or what spices and herbs you put in. In fact, you can prepare them exactly the way you want them.
And I started asking myself: isn’t it funny that we’re so prone to consider spending two hours cooking dried beans a waste of time, while we never question the fact that it’s also the time it takes us to drive to and from work everyday?